Code of Judicial Conduct
"Appropriate authority" denotes the authority with responsibility for initiation of disciplinary process with respect to the violation to be reported.
"Candidate." A candidate is a person seeking selection for or retention in judicial office by election or appointment. A person becomes a candidate for judicial office as soon as he or she makes a public announcement of candidacy, opens a campaign account as defined by Florida law, declares or files as a candidate with the election or appointment authority, or authorizes solicitation or acceptance of contributions or support. The term "candidate" has the same meaning when applied to a judge seeking election or appointment to nonjudicial office.
"Court personnel" does not include the lawyers in a proceeding before a judge.
"De minimis" denotes an insignificant interest that could not raise reasonable question as to a judge's impartiality.
"Economic interest" denotes ownership of a more than de minimis legal or equitable interest, or a relationship as officer, director, advisor, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:
(i) ownership of an interest in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not an economic interest in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund or a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the interest;
(ii) service by a judge as an officer, director, advisor, or other active participant in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, sororal, or civic organization, or service by a judge's spouse, parent, or child as an officer, director, advisor, or other active participant in any organization does not create an economic interest in securities held by that organization;
(iii) a deposit in a financial institution, the proprietary interest of a policy holder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association, or of a member in a credit union, or a similar proprietary interest, is not an economic interest in the organization unless a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the interest;
(iv) ownership of government securities is not an economic interest in the issuer unless a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the securities.
"Fiduciary" includes such relationships as personal representative, administrator, trustee, guardian, and attorney in fact.
"Impartiality" or "impartial" denotes absence of bias or prejudice in favor of, or against, particular parties or classes of parties, as well as maintaining an open mind in considering issues that may come before the judge.
"Judge." When used herein this term means Article V, Florida Constitution judges and, where applicable, those persons performing judicial functions under the direction or supervision of an Article V judge.
"Knowingly," "knowledge," "known," or "knows" denotes actual knowledge of the fact in question. A person's knowledge may be inferred from circumstances.
"Law" denotes court rules as well as statutes, constitutional provisions, and decisional law.
"Member of the candidate's family" denotes a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or person with whom the candidate maintains a close familial relationship.
"Member of the judge's family" denotes a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or person with whom the judge maintains a close familial relationship.
"Member of the judge's family residing in the judge's household" denotes any relative of a judge by blood or marriage, or a person treated by a judge as a member of the judge's family, who resides in the judge's household.
"Nonpublic information" denotes information that, by law, is not available to the public. Nonpublic information may include but is not limited to: information that is sealed by statute or court order, impounded or communicated in camera; and information offered in grand jury proceedings, presentencing reports, dependency cases, or psychiatric reports.
"Political organization" denotes a political party or other group, the principal purpose of which is to further the election or appointment of candidates to political office.
"Public election." This term includes primary and general elections; it includes partisan elections, nonpartisan elections, and retention elections.
"Require." The rules prescribing that a judge "require" certain conduct of others are, like all of the rules in this Code, rules of reason. The use of the term "require" in that context means a judge is to exercise reasonable direction and control over the conduct of those persons subject to the judge's direction and control.
"Third degree of relationship." The following persons are relatives within the third degree of relationship: great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, nephew, or niece.
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